The Six Nations Championship (referred to as RBS 6 Nations for sponsorship reasons) is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
The Six Nations Championship is the successor to the Five Nations and the Home Nations Championship, which was the first international rugby union tournament in the Northern Hemisphere. The event is currently sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The winners of the Six Nations Championship are also known as the European Champions.
France are the current Grand Slam title holders, unseating Ireland, who won a Grand Slam and a Triple crown in 2009. France won the 2010 title on 20 March, completing their Grand Slam before their home fans at Stade de France against England.
The winners of the Six Nations are presented with the Championship Trophy. This was originally conceived by the Earl of Westmorland, and was first presented to the winners of the 1993 championship, France. It is a sterling silver trophy, designed by James Brent-Ward and made by a team of eight silversmiths from the London firm William Comyns; it is valued at £55,000. Although originally silver on the inside, the trophy became so corroded through celebratory champagne fillings that it is now plated with 22 carat gold for protection.
It has 15 side panels representing the 15 members of the team and with three handles to represent the three officials (referee and two touch judges). The cup has a capacity of 3.75 litres – sufficient for five bottles of champagne. Within the mahogany base is a concealed drawer which contains six alternate finials, each a silver replica of one of the team emblems, which can be screwed on the detachable lid.
If the champions have won all their matches, then they will have won the Grand Slam, although no actual trophy is awarded for this achievement.
The Triple Crown can only be awarded to either England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and is awarded when one of those nations wins their matches against each of the others. As no trophy was historically awarded for winning the Triple Crown, it was often called ‘the invisible cup’. In 2006 the primary sponsor of the competition, the Royal Bank of Scotland, commissioned a trophy to be awarded to Triple Crown winners.
The award, a silver dish known as the Triple Crown Trophy, was contested for the first time in the 2006 Six Nations. Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll claimed the trophy for Ireland at Twickenham on 18 March after a last-minute try from Shane Horgan gave Ireland a 28–24 win over England.
Ireland are the last nation to win the Triple Crown, having done so as part of their 2009 Grand Slam. Now you can buy Six nations tickets online through a secure online booking and delivery system
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